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Poems of Goethe

COPTIC SONG.

LEAVE we the pedants to quarrel and strive,

Rigid and cautious the teachers to be!
All of the wisest men e'er seen alive

Smile, nod, and join in the chorus with me:
"Vain 'tis to wait till the dolt grows less silly!
Play then the fool with the fool, willy-nilly,--

Children of wisdom,--remember the word!"

Merlin the old, from his glittering grave,
When I, a stripling, once spoke to him,--gave

Just the same answer as that I've preferr'd;
"Vain 'tis to wait till the dolt grows less silly!
Play then the fool with the fool, willy-nilly,--

Children of wisdom,--remember the word!"

And on the Indian breeze as it booms,
And in the depths of Egyptian tombs,

Only the same holy saying I've heard:
"Vain 'tis to wait till the dolt grows less silly!
Play then the fool with the fool, willy-nilly,--

Children of wisdom,--remember the word!"

                                1789.*